Is celebrities bullying people with disabilities on the up-rise?
During his Yeesuz tour, Kanye West refused to perform his music until each and every person in attendance was on their feet. It doesn't seem that Kayne considered those among his fans may have been differently-abled, creating an awkward moment lasting roughly three minutes.
"This is the longest I've had to wait to do a song, it's unbelievable," Kanye West mentioned in the video that surfaced of the indecent.
One on those concert goes had a prosthetic, the second was confirmed by the audience to utilize a wheelchair.
No, I wasn't surprised at all that this kind of incident had occurred involving those within the disability community. Nor that it was instigated from such a popular and prominent, although notably ego-driven, celebrity as Kayne West. It is after all at par with his public persona from what I have gleaned from his career.
I was not at all surprised. After all it is the "Yeesuz" tour. For a man who seems to practically feed vampirically off of the public for attention and approval, something like this was bound to happen.
Just as we get to a time where we all (society) are coming around to seeming more open and accepting of people with disabilities in public, in advertising, and in and among the world together, we seem to also be entering a phase of celebrity disability bullying and discrimination.
George Takei and Shaquille O'Neil have also recently come under fire for their own incidences with mocking the disabled.
Maybe it's because in our tech-infused lifestyles, these kind of publicly posted disgraceful moments are easier than ever to inadvertently blunder out and just as quick as a thought, it's on social media.
Kanye West might want to remember who his fans are. They are normal people. Real people. All of whom have different ages, genders, careers, incomes, and abilities like most of us happen to be. Not the picture of perfect Hollywood, the elite and privileged type. Individuals with disabilities are also your fans that contribute to your fame and wealth by supporting your career, your music, and attend your concerts.
I think celebrities in general need to take heed. It's not new advice, but when you hold such a public position, you should use the opportunity to promote a more positive accepting view of people with disabilities and any differences.
Being a celebrity is a rare privilege, one that typically holds those with the privilege to a higher expectation when it comes to social influence. Just as you influence your fandom's clothing choices, hair styles, fragrances, hand bags, shoes, video games, etc., you also are influencing the attitudes of the younger more impressionable generations. Use that fame and popularity to help lead the change of our entire social environment of individuals with disabilities and promote a more inclusive and accessible world for all of us equally deserving